I was hunting for my sunglasses. After a relaxing weekend at the lake, the busy work week now before me. The sun already shining, I began searching through my bag, but to no avail. Convinced it was the last place I put them, I checked again and again.
But I was looking in the wrong place.
Perhaps you know what it’s like intently searching, cautiously exploring every crack and crevice in your car, only to come up empty. You try yet another compartment and come up dry. In exasperation, you throw your hands up- it feels like any further effort is a waste. We lose all hope of finding it.
We look not only for lost or misplaced items, we’re also looking for answers. Truths to address our feelings of emptiness, dissatisfaction, and hurt; the reasons for our pain and suffering, or the next step to take when we face a fork in the road. Trying to fit the
pieces of our puzzle together, we look desperately to the world around us for solutions and try different methods of escape or resolution.
The crowd following Jesus was looking for answers, too.
Longing for rescue from Roman oppression, they expected the Messiah to take his kingly throne on earth in strength and power, not in humility and teaching. Clinging to salvation based on their good works, through prudent diligence and neat outward appearances, the answer they sought was the anticipation of a powerful political leader; like looking inside the paper bag of your takeout, you expect to find what you ordered.
Not so with the kingdom of God.
For Jesus was not who they were expecting, not the answer they were seeking. In the beautiful mystery of the gospel, he gives them a sign, greater than a mere meal of fish and loaves, through the breaking of his body.
His invitation for us, from Jeremiah 29:13, “you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” It’s our great hope and trust that everything we are searching for can be found in him alone. Though we face doubts, insecurities, and tough circumstances, this is a promise we can hold onto as the crushing weight of our situation bears over us. He is the bread which gives life, to satisfy us wholly, completely, and eternally.
This teaching fell onto the ears of the crowd, and as they understood, they discovered it was a hard word to hear. Though they found him, they walked away. It wasn’t what they wanted nor expected; with hardened hearts, unable to receive.
Is his word too hard for us?
Do expectations of how we think life should go hinder us from surrendering our lives and circumstances to Christ? Do they prevent us from the work of sitting and studying the Word?
Others around us may walk away when the pieces don't seem to fit or their takeout order isn’t right. Disheartened, we too may struggle for understanding. May we respond like Peter, looking to his Saviour, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Let’s celebrate his provision for us, resting secure in his promises today.